November 6, 2019
There has been only one Mother Theresa, but there are quite a few little ‘Mother Theresas’ all over the world, hidden, hiding, or unknown.
I believe that Meena Pinto is one of them.
She is the mother of five children, three daughters and two sons. She is the spouse of the late Peter Pinto, with whom she spent 58 best years of her life from the age of 18, lavishing love, dedication and commitment until his last breath.
Meena is a magnanimous personality, warm and generous, gentle and loving human being.
Her outstanding quality is her ability to give endlessly combined with the ability to listen to people with generosity of heart.
More on that later, but first, here is something about her early life and background.
Meena was born on the November 11, 1939 in Mumbai.
She is the youngest of 7 children, of Valentine Vas and Elizabeth (Née Coelho).It is intriguing to know that she was born on the 11th day of the 11th month, at 11 o’clock weighing 11 pounds.
An amazing coincidence!!!
Meena is yet beautiful, graceful and elegant even at the age of 80. She must have had many suitors at an early age, but it was none other than a young Engineer from Bengaluru, Peter Pinto who finally won her heart.
Peter is the second among ten children of the famous advocate, Albert Pinto of Puttur and then Bengaluru. Albert is the author and composer and singer of many Konkani songs, most famous for ‘Roseline muje mogachem’ which even to this day, 90 years later lists as one of the most famous romantic Konkani songs. Meena and Peter married on the 16th September 1958 in, Mumbai.
For 58 years they lived a happy married life together, making memories with their 5 children and 7 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Apart from Meena’s outer beauty she is gifted with an inner beauty of extraordinary humanitarian qualities. She is also a woman of many talents. Creative in culinary skills, gardening and flower arrangements and interiors with a warmth, hospitable and homely touch in everything she does. Visiting Meena’s home is a tranquil experience. Her artistry and serenity is everywhere.
From 1980 to 1986 she opened and ran the well renowned Prithvi Café in Juhu with her son Neil, an open-air café attached to the theatre. It became well known for its Mangalurean and Goan fish and prawn curries, and other seafood specialties. It soon became the trendy place to be in. She gave up the Prithvi Café in 1986 after Jennifer Kapoor passed away, but Meena continued catering from her home kitchen in Bandra, Bombay for parties, weddings and special functions. No matter how hard it was, there was always enough for anyone who needed help or comfort from her kitchen.
On her 75th birthday in 2014, her daughter Jennifer published a Cook book ‘Love to Cook and Cook to Love’.
Meena reiterates “If you cook with love as your main ingredient and you will never go wrong”. Her daughter Jennifer compliments her mother in saying “My mother’s cooking pots always stirred emotions, warmed up memories, seasoned temperaments, heated discussions, simmered conversations and sweetened tongues.”
Even at this age of 80 she yet cooks for selective parties, but on a regular basis makes jams, pickles, wines and liqueurs and juices with seasonal fruit. The funds from these sales, goes towards helping disadvantaged people. She devotes her time and whatever she collects to paying school fees, clothing and monthly groceries for those who cannot afford.
She sees in each one of them the hidden Christ on Earth. She is constantly serving for the good of other people, whether it is helping the poor by purchasing monthly rations, trying to find free admissions for children in school, working with orphanages, helping the sweeper get medical attention, sourcing a wheelchair for a handicapped person, paying for dialysis for a patient who cannot afford the next treatment, collecting old clothes and distributing to the needy, buying blankets in winter to cover the street dwellers, preparing and distributing breakfast to street dwellers, sending food to friends who are unwell….and so much more that goes under the radar that is part of her everyday selfless life. Meena does not discriminate on religion, caste or community. Anyone in need deserves to be helped.
Meena feels she has a special divine call to share what she has with the poor, needy, sick and the abandoned.
Dear Meena, Your works and charity, your sense of sacrifice, love for a part of humanity have been brought to the attention of the Vatican, and the Holy Father Pope Francis, appreciates, admires and congratulates you on this great day of your life by imparting on you and the members of your family and all those who are associated with you in your humanitarian work, His Apostolic blessing from Rome.
Dear friends, family members and good wishers.
Let us wish Meena a very happy birthday on November 11, felicitating and encouraging her for her courage and commitment by asking God to bless her and give her good health, strength, joy and happiness, and above all peace of mind, heart and soul to continue to do what she is doing.